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Golden Rice

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How does Golden Rice works - Gene transformation foundation

 

Gene transformation foundation: Beta-carotene is a pigment involved in photosynthesis. However, in the endosperm part of rice, the part we eat, no photosynthesis exists and beta-carotene is not accumulated. So, to give rice endosperm the character of producing beta-carotene, gene recombinant technologies was considered, which means genes from other organisms should be transformed into the rice genome.

Although there is no beta-carotene formed, immature rice endosperm is capable of synthesizing the early intermediate geranylgeranyl diphosphate (“GGPP” in Fig. 3), which gives us a chance. Firstly, uncolored carotene phytoene can be produced from geranylgeranyl diphosphate by expressing the phytoene synthase in rice endosperm. For this reason, psy gene was introduced from daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). The first step of “To be supplemented” section in Fig 3 was accomplished. Secondly, beta-carotene can be produced from downstream reactions catalyzed by three additional enzymes: phytoene desaturase, xi-carotene desaturase, and lycopene beta-cyclase. As a crucial breakthrough, crtI gene was found in a soil bacterium Erwinia uredovora, bearing the capability of inducing all these functions in a single transgene (CrtI section in Fig. 3).

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